Obrázky stránek

Demopolis, going on to New-York, to purchase goods. Demopolis is a town in Alabama, in that part of it that was ceded conditionally to the French. I was glad to hear this; I had heard much of those emigrants, and now I had an opportunity (so far as I chose to rely) of hearing the truth: well, here we have the story of the Frenchmen.

"When they first began to clear their vineyard," he said, "they sent five men three miles for a rope, and having previously provided axes, about twentyfive or thirty of them in a body proceed to business. In the first place one ascends the tree which is to be fallen, and ties the rope hard and fast to the top; he then descends, and ten or a dozen of them take the end of the rope, whilst the others commence cutting, and perform a portion of the task in rotation. They cut all round, up and down, crossways, and lengthways, the tree; meantime the rope division kept pulling. At length down came the tree, killed two and crippled several. From that day to the present, no entreaty, or persuasion, can prevail on them to resume the business of clearing, or any attempt at falling timber. They have gone so far as to cultivate some little patches," he said, "for vegetables, but cutting with an axe, with them, is out of the question. When they are obliged to have a tree felled for firewood or other purposes, they hire the Americans to do it for them. They were, he continued, the most indolent, contemptible, and intractable people, to be found in any country: That Lefever, after doing all that a man of his patience and ability could do, left them in despair, with a broken heart! They were not only ignorant but given to all manner of vice; apply themselves to no manner of business for a livelihood, except strolling about with a few strings of beads or buttons, and such trifles, to sell, covered with rags and dirt." I inquired where they came from, and how Lefever could think of making any thing out of such abandoned people: He replied that some were immediately from France,

and some were picked up in our seaports. He said they had no more judgment in matters of farming, or planting, than children; and that government was adopting measures to get rid of them, and let those have the land who may turn it to better account. It is said to be the best land in the State. We laughed enough at his droll description of the French; hardly sensible of the jolting and swiftness of the stage. He had purchased a tremendous watermelon at Knoxville, and after we had done laughing he sat the melon in the driver's water-bucket. It was so large that he could only get a part of it endways into the bucket; setting it therefore between his knees, he began to slice it into pieces, which he distributed liberally between us and the driver, and commenced eating himself, and singing alternately. Somewhere on the road, he had inquired for melons; the man of whom he had inquired, desired his daughter (a woman grown) to go to such a place, and she would find one. The girl was not long in finding the melon, and in the eagerness of her joy she exclaimed, before she was near the house,"Ŏh law, daddy, its a roarer." The humour of the thing struck him at the moment, and he and my friend of Abington began to sing, "A bucket full of watermelon, we're neither drunk nor mad nor felon," and the chorus," my daddy is a roarer O," as loud as a trumpet, the horses going almost at full speed. I was really deafened, with them, but could not refrain from laughter to see the doors and windows fly open, and crowded with amazed spectators, while the dogs barked, and the stage flew on, without giving them time to gratify curiosity. When I remonstrated with them, the Alabamian said, “O, never mind, it will be a new epoch; the people on the road will say hereafter, "the year (or as the case may be) after the roarers went along."

Upon gaining Virginia, the country is principally settled with Germans and their descendants; therefore, as soon as you are in Washington county, Va. you have Dutch (as they are called) drivers, Dutch

[ocr errors]

inns, and Dutch every thing. These_mischievous plagues still kept up the roaring, and our Dutch driver, to whom this roaring was a new thing, would look round, with evident signs of amazement. Sometimes he would mutter to himself, sometimes go slow, and then put his horses to their best speed, as if he would outride the noise, or by that means bring about a cessation. But all in vain-the faster he drove the louder they sang, till their voices were exhausted. After making inquiry where we were to sleep that night, and the driver, pleased to find they were rational beings, had satisfied them on that point, they agreed between themselves to rest until they came within hearing of the house. Accordingly they raised the roaring, and continued until the horses stopt at the gate. Meanwhile some dozen Dutch men and women, the brothers and sisters of the driver, with the father and mother, attracted by the noise, were paraded in the yard, with looks of terror and amazement; and the moment the horses stopt, the old man accosts him"Vy Shake (Jake, vot sot ov beebles is you cot, is it ta tifle, oder mat beebles?" Jake muttered something, as I replied, "yes, we had one poor fellow, whom we were taking on to the lunatic hospital." The old man had just time to say "which is he," when seeing none but well-dressed, genteel looking people jump out of the stage, his terror gave way to joy. The next day I was rid of the roarers, as Mr. B. of Abington, arrived at his place of residence, and his friend, of Alabama, wishing to rest, accepted an invitation from him, to spend a day or two at Abington, I pursuing my journey alone.

East Tennessee, resembles the western part of Virginia, being nothing but alternate mountains and rivers. We cross no mountain, however, but the Cumberland, our road following the Holston river, which appears and disappears at intervals. The land on those rivers, however, is fertile, and yields hemp, corn, tobacco, wheat, rye, oats, flax, sweet and Irish potatoes, fruit, such as apples, pears and peaches, all sorts


of garden vegetables, particularly melons, that exceed those of any country I have seen, both in size and flaEast Tennessee exports flour, indian corn, Irish potatoes, whiskey, bacon, cider, apples, ciderroyal, Tennessee-royal, hemp, tobacco, iron, beef, butter, cheese, beeswax, lard, feathers, indian-meal, onions, and great quantities of plank, scantling, and other timber. These articles they exchange mostly for cotton, either in Alabama or New-Orleans, and this they again exchange for merchandise. The merchants have to waggon their goods from Philadelphia, as they cannot ascend the river, without great difficulty. We met a number of those waggons every day, ten and twelve teams together. They were so heavily laden, and the weather so warm, that they never travelled more than ten and twelve miles per day. The poor horses, I was sorry for them; the skin, in many instances, being rubbed off with the gears. The road is wretchedly bad, too, particularly after you get in Virginia: and here the stage passes six times every week, carrying the U. S. Mail; that is, three go to Nashville, and three return in one week, and yet, no one repairs the road. I should think it nothing but right, and just, that government should improve this miserable road, or make a better.

Notwithstanding the great advantages derived from increasing demand for its produce, East Tennessee is at a stand. In many places, improvement has ceased, the houses going to decay, and many of them tumbling down. Their little towns have a melancholy appearance, and evidently show that they are no longer the residence of industry or enterprise. Even in Knoxville, although some new buildings are erected, yet many others are mouldering into dust.

I passed the head of Holston, yesterday, after tracing it from the shoals, where it is three miles in width, to a small creek, and finally to its source, which is two small springs, one on each side of the road, in Washington County, Virginia. Tennessee

river waters five States,* Virginia, North-Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. A gentleman related to me a singular anecdote of this river, which I never heard or read of, until I went to Alabama. One, upon whose veracity we may rely, says that there is a place called the painted rock, which is not far above (if I mistake not,) where it passes through Cumberland mountain. This rock presents toward the river, a perpendicular surface of great height from the water's edge, with written characters in red paint, equally distant, both from the top and the bottom, and far beyond the reach of any person, either from above or below, nor can they from the distance, ascertain in what language the characters are written. This phenomenon has given rise to various conjectures: some imagine that a part of the rock has been broken off by some shock of nature, upon which some adventurous individual might have once stood and left this memento of his temerity. Others think it has been done by means of a long pole. The Indians who live near the place can give no account of it.

Newbern. Here I turn to the left, my way to the Springs lying through Giles county, Va. And here too I had the pleasure of once more meeting my friend of Demopolis, and I hope it will not be the last. I shall never forget this agreeable and pleasant stranger.

Washington, Wythe, and Montgomery.--These counties of Virginia, meet the traveller in succession upon leaving the state of Tennessee. Industry marks the face of the country, and in many parts opulence and taste; great part of them, however, as before observed, are settled by Germans. In these three counties three things are peculiar to them, viz: more natural children and more fleas I'll venture to say, than can be found in any ten. The third peculiarity

[blocks in formation]
« PředchozíPokračovat »